Early last Friday morning, 12 February, an oil spill occurred in Gibraltar port, from a ship called AM Ghent, whose captain confirmed that one of its venting valves had failed while bunkering.
A counter-pollution plan was put into immediate operation and a clean-up began, but the oil affected numerous sea birds and some of the spill still remains in areas north of the harbour.
These accidents are rare, but they come at great environmental cost. Gibraltar's Environment Minister, Dr John Cortes, said that "Over the last ten years the marine life in our harbour had come back in strength and it was becoming a key wildlife area.
"This is a significant setback which we are monitoring closely and we are working hard to minimise the impact as much as possible. But it will take time to recover."
The ship has been detained and the government wants to recover all costs from its owners.